Until 1937 only the first and milestone anniversaries were represented by materials. Then the American National Retail Jewellery Association issued a comprehensive list for wedding anniversaries up to and including the fifteenth - then every fifth year after that up to the sixtieth. The current list includes both traditional and contemporary gift ideas.
Customarily, gifts given or exchanged in the early years of marriage were practical ones, to help the couple set up home. Later in the marriage, when the couple would have acquired what they needed, gifts became more luxurious.
Generally speaking, the first fifteen years of anniversary celebrations are just between the couple. Later it is often celebrated more widely and often organised by children of the marriage. This is usually a meal or a party. It is strongly advised that the couple is told about this beforehand, in case they were making plans of their own!
Invitations should be sent out at least four weeks before the event. This does not imply the need for a gift - in fact many couples don't want gifts and request as such. If you want to bring one, it is advised that you do so after the event so as not to embarrass the hosts or guests who did not bring a gift.
If traditional gifts are given, it is usual for the couple to open them after the celebrations. Personalised gifts are more special and normally contain the names of the couple and the number of the anniversary.
For a sit-down meal, it is customary for the main table to include the oldest son, seated next to the mother, the eldest daughter, seated next to the father and also the couple's best man and maid of honour from their wedding, plus their respective spouses.
Typically, even a very informal affair includes a short speech. Often one of the children say a few complimentary words about their parents followed by a response by one or both of the couple in order to thank the organisers.
Above all, any anniversary celebration is one of a couple's love for each other and can be as large, small, formal or informal as you want. With careful planning - and the use of our chart - the celebration will be thoroughly enjoyed and remembered forever!
Not all anniversaries have a gemstone, flower or colour so we have included those that have any of these plus variations. Don't forget that some flowers may not be in season for a specific anniversary.
|Anniversary||Gem or Precious Metal||Colour||Flowers||Modern Gifts||Traditional Gifts|
|1st||Fresh water pearl||Papyrus Yellow||Arum Lily or Pansy||Clocks||Paper|
|2nd||Rose Quartz or Garnet||Linen White||Aster or Cosmos||China||Cotton|
|3rd||Crystal||Fawn||Azalea or Fuchsia||Crystal or Glass||Leather|
|4th||Amethyst or Topaz||Green||Begonia or Geranium||Appliances||Fruit or flowers|
|5th||Turquoise||Turquoise||Red Carnation or Daisy||Silverware||Wood|
|6th||Garnet or Amethyst||White||White Carnation or Calla Lily||Wood||Candy or Iron|
|7th||Lapis lazuli or Black Onyx||Off White||Red Chrysanthemum or Jack-in-the-pulpit||Desk sets||Wood or Copper|
|8th||Garnet or Amethyst||Bronze||White Chrysanthemum or Clematis||Linen or lace||Bronze or Pottery|
|9th||Tiger's Eye or Amethyst||Terracotta||Daffodil or Poppy||Leather||Pottery or Willow|
|10th||Black Onyx||Silver||Daisy or Daffodil||Diamond jewellery||Tin or Aluminium|
|11th||Turquoise or Hematite||Turquoise||Forget-me-not or Morning Glory||Fashion jewellery||Steel|
|12th||Agate or Jade or Coloured Gems||Oyster White||Gardenia or Peony||Pearls||Silk or Linen|
|13th||Malachite or Citrine or Moonstone||White||Globe Amaranth or Hollyhock||Textiles||Lace|
|14th||Moss Agate||Ivory||Hibiscus or Dahlia||Gold Jewellery||Gold jewellery|
|15th||Crystal||Ruby Red||White Jasmine or Rose||Watches||Crystal|
|16th||Aquamarine or Peridot||Silver||Yellow Jasmine|
|17th||Citrine or Amethyst||Yellow||Larkspur|
|19th||Topaz or Aquamarine||Bronze||Oxeye Daisy|
|20th||Green or White Emerald||Emerald Green or White||Purple Iris or Day Lily||Platinum||China|
|23rd||Imperial Topaz||Silver||White Rose|
|25th||Sterling Silver||Silver||Red & White Rose or Iris||Silver||Silver|
|30th||Pearl||Green||Rosebud or Sweet pea||Diamond||Pearl|
|50th||Gold or Imperial Gold or Golden Topaz||Gold||Violet||Gold||Gold|
|65th||Star Sapphire||Sky Blue|
|75th||White Diamond||Diamond White||Diamond||Diamond|